Manuel Pellegrini says there is no need for Manchester City to prioritise their Champions League dream over the Premier League.
City return to Premier League action at Chelsea on Saturday after the exhilaration of their victory over Paris Saint-Germain and with the prospect of a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid to look forward to.
Pellegrini, however, wants his players to put Europe to the back of the mind to focus on the task of picking up points.
City, in fourth, have not yet seen off the challenge of Manchester United and West Ham to secure Champions League football for next season, while third-placed Arsenal are still in range.
Pellegrini said: “We now have three games of the Premier League before we continue in the Champions League. It is a very important nine points to try to have a spot for the Champions League next year.
“The target is to try to add as many points from now until the end of the season. The important thing is it depends on us what we do to be in the third or fourth position. We cannot talk more about the other two positions because that doesn’t just depend on what we do.
“I am not going to prioritise any competition. We don’t need to prioritise because we are going to play these three games before we return to the Champions League.”
City captain Vincent Kompany, who has been back in training this week, will not return this weekend but could feature in the next game at Newcastle.
“I hope he will play on Tuesday in the starting XI,” said Pellegrini. “We need to bring the captain back when he is 100 per cent ready to play, not just to bring him back.”
One player that is certain to be involved at Stamford Bridge is Kevin De Bruyne, who returns to his former club fresh from scoring the winner against PSG.
De Bruyne failed to make an impression in two years at the London club and was loaned out to Werder Bremen before being allowed to join to Wolfsburg, where his career ignited, but Pellegrini says he has nothing to prove this weekend.
“I think Kevin is a very professional player that tries to play very well in every game and tries to be at the top of the table in every competition with Manchester City,” Pellegrini said. “I think that is his only feelings.”
Pellegrini believes De Bruyne has the potential to become one of the best players in the world.
He said: “He is a very young player. It depends how he improves in the next year but he is a player that kicks the ball very well and he gets goals, and for me, a player that gets goals is the most important thing.
“I think we will see Kevin improve in every season here in the next few years in England.”